Arts + Scene » Film Preview

The Black Pirate

ArMack Orchestra's silent swashbuckler


The Black Pirate - POSTER FROM 1926
  • poster from 1926
  • The Black Pirate

It's a tradition. Every year the ArMack Orchestra, comprised of students from McKinleyville and Arcata high schools, heads out on a journey to play a concert and learn more about music some place far away. Last year it was London. The next big trip is to New York City where the orchestra will compete in a music festival and perform at no less than Carnegie Hall.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer to the old joke is "practice, practice, practice," and you can be sure that's part of the plan, but getting there also requires a fair amount of fundraising. That leads us to another ArMack tradition, the annual not-so-silent movie. Every year Maestra Carol Jacobsen selects some silent film classic and puts together a score as a soundtrack (along with sound effects cues) to be performed by the student orchestra.

This time out the film is a Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler from 1926, The Black Pirate. The high seas adventure begins with pirates looting and sinking a ship, assuming that they've killed all aboard since, "Dead men tell no tales." What they don't know is that an old man and his son made it to shore. When his father dies, the son (Fairbanks) vows vengeance. There's plenty of what you'd expect from a pirate flick: sword fights, buried treasure, wooden legs, a touch of romance. Those attending are invited to dress up in pirate garb, boo the villains, cheer the hero and say things with extended "rrr" sounds. Arrre you ready for popcorn? 

A two-weekend run of The Black Pirate starts Oct. 18 at McKinleyville High with shows at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and an extra Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. The same schedule (including the matinee) repeats the following weekend, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 25-27, at Arcata High. Admission is just $5. Bring extra booty since here will be snacks available. For more information call 822-5453 or go to

Add a comment